The Michigan Department of Transportation has begun building a temporary M-30 bridge over the Tobacco River in Gladwin County following extensive damage to the corridor during flooding from May's mid-Michigan dam failures.
Totaling $4.3 million, the temporary bridge is expected to open to traffic in mid-February.
MDOT used an expedited bid letting process to garner bids for the temporary bridge building. Work is expected to begin immediately, with the awarded contractor, Anlaan Corp., reviewing the site on Tuesday and beginning to mobilize equipment this week.
Temporary bridge components are being supplied by Acrow Bridge, a corporation specializing in prefabricated modular steel bridge solutions.
While several bridges on both state and local roads suffered damage, the M-30 causeway bridge over the Tobacco River, near Stryker's Lakeside Marina, was completely washed away following the Edenville Dam breach.
The flooding and subsequent dam failure led to damage of two M-30 bridges and the Curtis Road bridge, all within one mile of each other. The M-30 bridge over the Tittabawassee River and the Curtis Road bridge have both reopened this fall.
MDOT staff determined a temporary bridge structure was the best use of federal emergency aid and supported their mission of restoring mobility as quickly as possible.
"Reopening this second M-30 bridge is vital to our business," said Edenville Market owner Gurbachan Singh. "We have really struggled to stay in business since the flood damage, and every bridge that reopens helps our business a little more."
Standard bridge construction requires several years of design work and review to ensure that the appropriate size structure is installed, meeting the transportation needs for the foreseeable future.
Meanwhile, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy will be working concurrently to secure the existing Edenville Dam. This work is being completed to ensure that any future flooding does not place area residents and businesses in danger, and to address continuing impacts on infrastructure and natural resources.
This work will result in rapidly changing water levels and impact the stability of ice once winter recreation activities are in full swing. MDOT and EGLE request that the public refrain from all recreation activities on the Tobacco River while this work is in progress.
Four Lakes Task Force (FLTF) received good news that our pre-application loan for the Four Lakes Special Assessment District (SAD) was accepted and meets the eligibility requirements for a low-interest loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).What does it mean for homeowners? The USDA qualification means the Four Lakes SAD can apply for low-interest financing for the recovery and rebuilding of the lakes and dams. This provides a path forward for Four Lakes and is a key milestone as we work to bring back our lakes.
This news comes just a few weeks after two other big steps forward in our plan:
We will continue our focus on the important work of determining affordability and assessment amounts for property owners. Please watch for more information about a property owner survey and public hearings, which are planned for the new year. While there is still more to be done, with your support we are making progress.
Choosing costumes, decorating pumpkins, and getting special treats brings joy to many children at Halloween. Some Halloween traditions may look different this year to keep everyone safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, there are still plenty of ways families can have fun while avoiding the scare of being exposed to or spreading the virus.
Most importantly, keep doing what you have been doing: avoiding large gatherings, keeping a distance of six feet from others, wearing cloth face coverings (think superhero!), and washing hands often. Some ideas for ways to keep safety steps in place while celebrating:
Use video chats for an online party with friends and family and show off costumes and play games. Have fun with it! In cold climates, this may be the first time your child can wear a costume that isn't buried under a parka! Outdoor costume parades are another option, if it is possible for everyone to stay at least 6 feet apart and wear cloth face coverings.
Remember: a costume mask is not a substitute for a cloth face covering unless it has multiple layers of breathable fabric and covers the mouth and nose snugly.
BY ANTHONY SANFILIPPOJuly 2020
The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) recently announced measures to help some homeowners overcome financial barriers that were brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
These home retention measures, which are immediately effective, will assist homeowners with FHA-insured single-family mortgages and help them to get current on their mortgage at the end of the COVID-19 forbearance period – assuming they were current on their mortgage as of March 1, 2020 – or were less than 30 days past due.
“Our goal throughout this crisis has been to prevent American homeowners from losing their homes through no fault of their own,” said HUD Secretary Ben Carson in a press release. “Providing more solutions now to save homes in the future is part of the Administration’s unprecedented response to the crisis and will contribute to the larger economic recovery already underway.”
Mortgage servicers are now able to use additional loss mitigation tools known as a “waterfall” to assess a homeowner’s eligibility for other retention options if they don’t qualify for FHA’s COVID-19 National Emergency Standalone Partial Claim.
That claim takes all past due amounts and puts them into a separate junior lien on the property, maxing out at 30 percent of the mortgage’s unpaid principal balance. This lien is only repayable at the end of the mortgage, which in most cases occurs during a refinancing of the mortgage, or when a home is sold.
The mortgage servicers are required to assess homeowners using this waterfall either before or at the end of their forbearance period.
For those not qualifying for the Standalone Partial Claim, homeowners may still qualify for the following:
“This comprehensive set of measures will help virtually every homeowner who has requested COVID-19 forbearance,” acting Federal Housing Commissioner Len Wolfson said in a statement. “It also provides servicers with the tailored and streamlined capabilities they need to provide assistance to homeowners as quickly and as efficiently as possible.”
The FHA is also helping homeowners who don’t occupy an FHA-insured single-family property.
For those folks, they created the COVID-19 Non-Occupant Loan Modification. This allows non-occupant borrowers who have received COVID-19 forbearance to obtain a modification to their mortgage rate and term.
None of these retention measures will require a homeowner to make a lump-sum payment at the end of the forbearance period, nor are servicers allowed to charge fees or penalties for missed mortgage payments during the borrower’s forbearance period.
Upcoming webinars will provide updates and answer questions related to each lake and dam. Anyone is welcome to attend each meeting no matter which lake you live on, however, the subject matter will only pertain to individual lakes. Meetings begin at 3 p.m. EDT and will be held virtually.
Meeting topics will include an engineering update and discussion of important topics by lake. Each session will include a Q&A.These meetings are scheduled to coincide with the Lake Association meetings so residents can discuss the topics in greater detail at that time.Recordings of the meetings will be available on our website after the meeting.
On May 19 our worlds changed. When the Edenville and Sanford dams breached, the mission of Four Lakes Task Force took on greater urgency.Today our goal is to address immediate and far-reaching challenges to ensure that future generations will enjoy our priceless natural treasures for many years to come.We need your help to bring back our thriving lake communities.Private donations will help us accelerate our progress as we look for additional sources of funding. Every donation is being matched dollar-for-dollar up to $200,000 so your donation will have double the impact.Donate online or by mailing a check to Four Lakes Task Force, 233 Larkin Street, Suite 2, Midland, MI 48640 with the memo, “Donation.”I Want to Help Bring Back Our Lakes
Shoreline erosion continues to be a significant issue for many property owners. This will be a topic at the individual lake meetings. You may also check out our website for many resources related to minimizing erosion, the value of planting grass and shrubs, when to plant, when you need a permit and much more.Check Out the Website
With the unfortunate and tragic dam breaches on Wixom Lake & Sanford Lake in Gladwin & Midland County much of my service area was impacted. Residents are dealing with property damage, loss of property value and inability to get around easily with so many bridges out. This has definitely brough about unprecedented times for the area real estate market. Appraisers and bank underwriters are trying to discern what this means for everyone. The present situation has put buying and selling in large part on hold while some of this can get sorted out. There are still wonderful bodies of water to consider in Gladwin County such as Pratt Lake, Wiggins Lake, Lake Lancer & Lake Lancelot. Also, if the inspections of the Smallwood & Secord Lake dams go well those bodies of water could potentially be a place to search again!
My service area includes Clare County, Ogemaw County and Roscommon County as well as lakes in the Hale area. I have knowledge of these areas and the ability to search and show homes to you in these areas. There truly are lakes for all budgets and water sport need and I look forward partnering with you! Together we will find the right lake for your families lifestyle and budget.
Acknowledging the many unknowns in relation to the COVID-19 virus, Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of REALTORS®, sounded cautious optimism about where the economy is heading and highlighted positive indicators in the residential real estate market at the Residential Economic Issues and Trends Forum on May 13 at the 2020 REALTORS® Legislative Meetings. Yun predicted that steady and even rising home prices could point toward healthy home sales numbers once the economy reopens, and he saw signs that jobs could also rebound as stay-at-home orders ease.
Despite a decline in GDP, consumer spending, and business spending in the first quarter of 2020, Yun noted that residential investment, which includes home building, home sales, and remodeling, was actually up by 21% during the first three months—an indication, he said, of how strong the housing market was before the pandemic.
He also drew attention to the fact that personal income was up by 2% and personal savings jumped a remarkable 152%, related to curtailed household spending as the pandemic spread. Yun was hesitant to gauge the mindset of savers but offered more than one interpretation. “Are they waiting for the economy to reopen?” he said. “Or does it imply pessimism? There is certainly more money available.”
Noting that spending at grocery stores had predictably gone up in March while spending at restaurants had declined, Yun noted that restaurant spending had improved slightly in the last few weeks, showing a decline of just 60% to 70% from the same period last year as some restaurants found ways to continue serving customers by engaging in social distancing measures and offering takeout service.
And while clothing stores, sporting and hobby stores, and department stores all saw steep declines in consumer retail spending over the same period a year ago, building materials and gardening spending actually increased by 10.4%, a hopeful indicator. “People are upgrading their homes,” Yun said. “When the market reopens, that housing will go up in value. People are remodeling, working on lawn care. All things you do to sell a home.”
As grim as the unemployment numbers have been, Yun was encouraged by recent data. As of May 2, a reported 26 million people were jobless, in contrast to the high of 33 million who filed claims earlier in the lockdown. Yun inferred from the numbers that some people received unemployment checks for a few weeks and then got back to work, possibly in jobs in high-demand essential fields. He also said that it was important to watch for trends like these as a harbinger of improvement. “Even in good years people file (for unemployment),” he said. “We are looking for a flattening of the curve. When 1 million jobs are created in a week and less than 1 million file for unemployment, we will know the economy is turning for the better.”
Yun also noted that the biggest job losses in April were found in leisure and hospitality (7.6 million) and in education and health (2.5 million). However, he saw potential for the latter category to rebound quickly once the economy reopens. “I expect [education and health] to turn positive. People will need daycare. Hip replacement, knee surgery will be done again. These loses could be temporary.”
In addition to positive prognostications on the job front, Yun saw reason to be optimistic on the potential for home sales once the economy picks up steam. Of particular note were home prices, which he said were strong. “There is no meaningful downward trend,” he said. “If anything, they appear to be rising.”
Yun pointed to the current housing shortage as the source of the stable prices, and he predicted that the shortage could grow even more severe given that the usual spring increase in listings didn’t occur this year. He suggested that as the economy reopens, people will be ready to list. He noted that Georgia, which is beginning to reopen, could be a model for what we will see in the rest of the country as restrictions ease. “Listings are popping out,” Yun said, “and buyers are quickly grabbing homes.”
He added further that healthy home sales are possible even when the job market is uncertain. “Even in high unemployment times,” he said, “60 to 70 percent have employment. And we have record-low mortgage rates. The situation could be good.”
I would venture a guess and say that you expect me to type here how the market is crashing, no one is buying, no on is selling and the end is near. If you read or listen to headlines I am not surprised this is what you are expecting to read. However, the reality is just the opposite actually! The Governor of the State of Michigan deemed Realtors as non-essential so while I am not leaving my home, I am working 8-12 hours a day on my business. I've listed 6 properties, put 4 under contract, determined value of 4 homes, closed 6 transactions and have been on the phone communicating with many more buyers and sellers since this went into effect less than 1 month ago. I had a conversation with with a trusted friend and local appraiser and he is of the same view as me...this is just a pause in the real estate market. Our area was rather "hot" prior to the stay at home order and we expect it will pick up where it left off. Proof of this is the fact that sellers are still listing and buyers are still buying. What we do need is more inventory. It remains a sellers market as we have more buyers than we do listings. My focus is on waterfront real estate and many of my sellers live in other areas so as soon as the stay at home is relaxed some they can come up to their lake houses and get them ready for sale. We are still early in the lake front season so many good months lie ahead. There is so much we can do from home during this time as Realtors, as Buyers and as Sellers. Technology is our friend and allows us to view homes in real time, sign offers, communicate with our lender and more all from the comfort and safety of home. If you'd like to learn more about the innovative ways that we can accomplish your real estate goals call/text or email me.
As those of us in the US and Michigan watch the COVID-19 situation develop and unfold it remains to be seen if this will have any long term effect on the real estate market. My local observations are that is surely has not yet. I'm still scheduling listing appointments to value houses and showing homes as well. Also, interest rates are fantastic which has spurred more buyers into the market. Couple that with a long winter and folks are longing to get up to the lake to enjoy and make memories.
As far as our practices during this time, Modern Realty has made sure that each agent is not working if they feel ill, the office is being sanitized regularly and we are limiting those at showings, listings and closings to essential people only. While I love to meet you, for now we won't be hugging or handshaking and I carry sanitizer and disinfectant with me to use as needed.
Please don't hesitate to reach out because much of our work can be done electronically with no need for you to leave home. I offer video showings and use secure e-signing software as well.
We can’t wait to be open later this spring! Which A&W item are you looking forward to the most? Let us know in the comments!